Hurtado Releases Statement After Rally for Senate Bill 559--The State Water Resiliency Act of 2021

June 28, 2021

For Immediate Release: June 28, 2021

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SACRAMENTO, CA – Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) today joined fellow Central Valley Legislators, and water and agriculture advocates to release the following statements regarding her Senate Bill 559—State Water Resiliency Act of 2021:

“Unfortunately this drought is the new normal in many of our communities and it’s unacceptable,” said Senator Hurtado. “SB 559 will make the investment in our infrastructure to fix the water conveyance system in our state and help our families. California’s human right to water is in jeopardy without SB 559 and with it, their right to food.”

“We have inherited a magnificent system of hydrology,” said Assemblymember Jim Patterson (R-Fresno). “It saves, stores and moves water to where it is needed. Sadly, our storage and conveyance systems have not been modernized or maintained. SB 559 makes a bold commitment to repairing our canals that produce water for people and food. The clock is ticking. Time is running out. We must act now.”

"Now is the time to invest in our water infrastructure and storage. SB 559 will help fix California's water pipes so that we can better prepare ourselves for future droughts and deliver critical clean water to our communities." - Assemblymember Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield)

“The perpetual threat of droughts and water shortage is a new normal California must come to terms with,” said Assemblymember Carlos Villapudua (D-Stockton). “Supporting SB 559 will provide the critical improvements needed for our state’s water infrastructure and conveyance to strengthen our water resilience and steady our water supply throughout the state. As a world leader in the agriculture industry, waiting on these investments is no longer an option if we want to be able to keep putting food on the table for families around the globe.”

“SB 559 will preserve the San Joaquin Valley as the nation’s agricultural powerhouse by helping to restore the water supplies our farms and communities rely on while also helping to make us more resilient to climate uncertainty,” said Jason Phillips, Chief Executive Officer of the Friant Water Authority. “We are grateful to Senator Hurtado, her colleagues in the Senate and Assembly, and the Governor for recognizing the value of investing in conveyance during a year when California has a unique opportunity to fund repairs to critical infrastructure.”

“The San Joaquin, San Benito, and Santa Clara Valleys need long-term water supply solutions if they are to remain global leaders in food production, high tech, and environmental stewardship,” said Federico Barajas, Executive Director of the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority. “SB 559 offers a holistic, statewide approach to restore the conveyance capacity of California's most critical water delivery infrastructure. It’s critical that we move water when it is provided by Mother Nature to increase our resilience to droughts like the one impacting California today – SB 559 is a critical component of that effort. We thank the Governor and the Senate for their strong support of this legislation and urge its rapid passage in the Assembly.”

“SB 559 is about people, it’s about ensuring that the families and communities from the Central Valley all the way down to San Diego can continue to rely on the State Water Project and Central Valley Project for the water they need to drink, cook, bath and irrigate their crops,” said Jennifer Pierre, General Manager of the State Water Contractors. “Extended droughts don’t come in cycles anymore; they are our new normal. That is why we need smart solutions like SB 559 that protect the water infrastructure 31 million Californians and over 3 million acres of farmland rely on. Securing our water infrastructure means securing California’s future, and SB 559 will help us do that.”

“Safe water conveyance within the various regions of the Central Valley is paramount to utilizing every drop of our precious resource,” said Anjanette Shadley, General Manager for the Western Canal Water District. “We support Senator Hurtado’s effort to provide necessary conveyance solutions for communities, wildlife, groundwater, and farmers.”

“SB 559 is crucial legislation to update and secure our vital water conveyance systems to support human health, benefit wildlife and produce locally grown food, said Ag Council President Emily Rooney.  “The time to pass SB 559 is now to help us achieve the goal of safe, clean drinking water for millions of Californians, sustain the Pacific Flyway, as well as ensure water is available to produce nutritious California grown food meeting the highest environmental and labor standards.”

“We support the creative efforts in the San Joaquin Valley to restore water conveyance capacity as a step forward for improved water resilience and to protect critical regional water infrastructure from the impacts of drought and climate change,” said Gary Link, Director of the Northern California Water Association.

The State Water Resiliency Act of 2021 will allocate $785 million to repairing vital water delivery systems that provide drinking water to communities throughout California and water to sustain the state’s leading agricultural economy. The funds would go to fixing the Friant-Kern Canal, the Delta-Mendota Canal and major portions of the California Aqueduct, all of which have degraded and are losing water as a result of subsidence – the actual shrinking of land.

The Senator has also introduced Senate Bill 464, which will expand the eligibility for state funded food benefits to undocumented immigrants, ensuring all residents can access food assistance. Senator Hurtado’s SB 108, which will declare it to be state policy that all people have access to sufficient, healthy food.


About Senator Melissa Hurtado

Senator Melissa Hurtado represents a new generation of Latina leaders as the youngest woman ever elected to the California State Senate and a product of immigrant parents. Senator Hurtado represents the 14th Senate District and focuses on rural community issues that often go unheard — access to clean air and water, food insecurity and poverty, inequities in environmental policies, agriculture and access to health care. In July 2020, she was appointed to the national Biden Latino Leadership Committee alongside former Labor Secretary and current Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis – the only two California Latinas on the Committee.

For more information, visit Senator Hurtado’s Website here or find her on Twitter at @Senator_Hurtado